• repeal the Sherman Act of 1890, • repeal the Clayton Act of 1914, • repeal the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, • repeal the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, • repeal the Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950, • repeal the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act of 1975, and • repeal the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976.
Antitrust is thought by some to be the bulwark of free enterprise. Without the continued vigilance of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, the argument goes, large corporations would ruthlessly destroy their smaller rivals and soon raise prices and profits at consumers' expense. When a federal judge decides that the nation's leading software company should be dismembered, and yet another megamerger grabs headlines almost daily, the importance of vigorous antitrust law enforcement seems to be obvious.
But antitrust has a dark side. The time for modest reform of antitrust policy has passed. Root-and-branch repeal of what Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan a generation ago referred to as a “jumble of economic irrationality and ignorance”—and what modern scholarship has shown over and over again to be a playground of special pleaders—is called for.
Here are eight compelling reasons why the antitrust laws belong in the dustbin of history.
Frequently, when government invokes the antitrust laws, it transforms a company's private property into something that effectively belongs to the public, to be designed by bureaucrats and sold on terms congenial to